A much better effort this time against the Charlotte Bobcats after their disappointing loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pacers led most of the way, but couldn't really put the Bobcats away until the end of the fourth quarter. Whatever. They won 100-92, and that's all that matters.
Hibbert had 13 points, 14 boards, 6 assists and 3 blocks. Granger had 18, Dunleavy had 15, and Rush had 16.
I'm really liking what I'm seeing from this Pacers squad right now. When they defend, rebound and hustle, they are a tough team to beat, even when their shots aren't falling. When they feed the ball inside to Hibbert, good things happen. I don't understand why they don't go to him more often.
Josh McRoberts is starting to look more and more like a starter in this league after getting virtually no playing time in his first 3 years. People tend to forget that he's only 23 and still improving. For the season he's averaging 6.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 blocks. Not super numbers or anything but he's been so much better than I expected. I just wish O'Brien would play Hansbrough more. The kid has so much potential and he makes the Pacers a better team when he's on the floor.
Solomon Jones is another pleasant surprise. I've been one of his harshest critics, and last year he was absolutely hopeless, but this season he has really turned his play around. He's hustling, rebounding and playing so much better in every facet of the game. Statistically it might not be showing (4.6 points, 3 rebounds in 14.3 mins per game) but he's giving it his all out there.
Speaking of surprises, how about James Posey? The two-time NBA Champ is leading the way with his hustle plays, taking charges, diving to the floor and hitting big shots. While Collison may not have lived up to the lofty expectations that he carried when he was traded to the Pacers, Posey has definitely exceeded expectations.
Another good game from Rush today after he struggled in the loss to the Bucks. He's finding his niche too -- just needs to watch some of his passes -- but when his shot is on, like it was today, he makes the Pacers that much better. I'd like to see Rush start over Dunleavy on a more consistent basis and play more minutes. Rush is averaging just under 30 minutes per game but I'd like to see O'Brien up it to 32-35. Dunleavy had a good one today but he's still too inconsistent and not reliable enough defensively. He's so great at getting open shots, but he also misses a lot of them. I say bring him off the bench, let him shoot a few, and if he's hot, keep him on. If not, get him off.
Too much rambling again. Tomorrow a big one on the road against the Joe Johnson-less Atlanta Hawks. The Pacers lost to them earlier in the season at home by 10, so it's time for some revenge. While last time I doubted they could win, this time I truly believe they can. Go Pacers!
PS: Stephen Jackson was booed in his return to Indiana -- Pacers fans still haven't forgotten how he raced into the strands right after Ron Artest.